Priest Charged with Stealing $500K for Gambling5 months ago
The Catholic church received yet another black eye earlier this month when one of its priests was hit with four counts of wire fraud for embezzling more than half a million dollars, some of which was used for gambling at Pennsylvania casinos.
A visit to the confessional and recitation of hundreds of Our Fathers and Hail Marys likely won't be penance enough for Monsignor William A. Dombrow. The 77-year-old Archdiocese of Philadelphia priest's fate will lie in the hands of a federal judge rather than a higher power and may result in up to 80 years of saying his prayers from a prison cell.
Thou Shalt Not Steal
Dombrow was in charge of a fund that cared for over four dozen retired priests at Villa St. Joseph, where he served as rector for over a decade. The money came from donors and the estates of deceased and retired clergy.
In all, some $535,000 was allegedly pilfered by the man of the cloth, who is said to have used the cash to bankroll casino visits, expensive dinners and Philly Pops concerts, according to the Catholic News Agency.
The scheme was unearthed by Sharon Savings Bank, who alerted archdiocese authorities after discovering “irregularities” with an account tied to the Villa. Dombrow had been allegedly breaking the 7th Commandment over a nine-year period beginning in 2007.
Villa St. Joseph is home to elderly and retired priests, as well as some who lost their ministerial privileges due to substantiated claims of sexual abuse of minors. The Catholic church has been the subject of many such sex scandals over the years.
Reports indicate that Dombrow is remorseful for his actions and is cooperating with law enforcement, with a guilty plea likely forthcoming. His administrative duties have been restricted in light of the allegations.
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